Monday 9 January 2023

Over 7,000 Nurses Go On Strike, Crippling NYC Hospitals

 Over 7,000 New York City nurses went on strike Monday morning after contract negotiations failed between the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and Mount Sinai and Montefiore Bronx hospitals, according to a press release from NYSNA.

NYSNA announced Sunday night that they had reached a tentative agreement with seven of the twelve hospitals involved in contract negotiations; Mount Sinai and Montefiore Bronx, however, did not reach an agreement regarding salary increases and better working conditions, leading to over 7,000 nurses striking Monday morning. Hospitals have been preparing for the strike since last week by moving newborns in neonatal intensive care to different hospitals and canceling some elective procedures, according to multiple reports.

“Sinai Sinai can’t you see, this is a healthcare emergency!” NYSNA posted on Twitter early Monday. 

The hospitals prepared for the strike since the initial announcement 10 days prior by bringing in “hundreds” of traveling nurses and transferring patients to other hospitals, according to CNN. Montefiore sent a notice to its staff urging nurses to continue working despite the strike, while Mount Sinai Hospital began moving newborns in neonatal care to different hospitals last week ahead of the strike.

Cancer patients were recommended to find alternative places to obtain treatment during the strike, according to The New York Times. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the strike will likely cause “delayed or limited service.”

NYSNA had been working on negotiating contracts for months to improve “staffing standards,” more affordable healthcare benefits and salary increases of seven, six, and five percent over the next three years, according to the press release. Negotiations failed at Mount Sinai and Montefiore Bronx, which had 3,625 and 3,500 nurses respectively.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul urged the two parties to reach an agreement in a press release Sunday.

“No one puts more on the line to care for New Yorkers than our nurses, which is why my team has been pushing for a fair labor agreement for these dedicated professionals and to ensure they have safe working conditions,” Hochul stated. “Yet there remain outstanding issues at Montefiore and Mount Sinai and I am now calling for binding arbitration so that all parties can swiftly reach a resolution.”

The hospitals argued that the nurses had unrealistic demands and walked out of negotiations Sunday, according to CNN.

“NYSNA leadership walked out of negotiations shortly after 1 a.m. ET, refusing to accept the exact same 19.1% increased wage offer agreed to by eight other hospitals, including two other Mount Sinai Health System campuses, and disregarding the governor’s solution to avoid a strike,” Lucia Lee, a Mount Sinai spokesperson, explained.

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